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John Hooper

1495 - 1555

John Hooper, bishop of Gloucester from 1551 to 1554, is known as the ‘father of nonconformity’. Having spent many years on the European Continent among French, German, and Swiss Reformers, he brought back to England a Calvinistic Puritanism which found favour at first with Lord Somerset’s protectorate and King Edward VI’s short rule. However, when he was offered the bishopric of Gloucester and refused to be ordained in the vestments legally required for the ceremony, he was imprisoned and pressured by other Reformed clerics to submit. Eventually he agreed to wear the vestments, but as bishop continued his pursuit of radical reform and teaching. When Mary Tudor came to the throne and repealed King Edward VI’s ecclesiastical legislations, Hooper was removed from his bishopric in March 1554 ostensibly for being a married man, then imprisoned, condemned for heresy, and, on 9 February 1555, burned at the stake in Gloucester, a willing martyr for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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